In 2010 there was an impressive increase in the number of Chartered Engineer registrations with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, my own Institution, leading the way.

The number of Chartered Engineers registered last year was 26% more than in 2009 and 1,135 of those were through the IMechE, the highest number of all the Institutions.

A surprising statistic was that the average age of engineers achieving Chartered status was 36. Engineering at that level requires experience and maturity in addition to a high level of academic achievement, these days reckoned to take eight to ten years in total but taking to ones mid-thirties to achieve that seemed a little high.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Birdcage Walk, London (from “Professional Engineering”)
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Birdcage Walk, Lond (from "Professional Engineering")

I gained my Chartered status in the mid 1970s at the age of 30, having gone to university three years later than I, perhaps, should have done, after gaining my Higher National Diploma. Admittedly the academic requirements for a Chartered Engineer are now, broadly, at Masters Degree level, though my First Degree course at Brunel University was of four years duration anyway and I gained a Masters a several years later.

The Engineering Council also recorded an even larger increase in registrations as Incorporated Engineers, a 64% increase over those registering in 2009, with the Engineering Technician registrations being much more modest at 12%.

The figures represent a second year of growth for CEng and IEng registrations with the EngTechs having done so for a sixth consecutive year.

Given the need for growth in manufacturing output and engineering generally in the U.K. that is a very encouraging sign, the problem remaining being the will of the Government and the Country in general, to make worthwhile use of such developments. Massive damage was done to manufacturing in the 1980s with over reliance on the service industries, particularly the now discredited banking industry. With manufacturing being brought back from abroad, for closer control, among other things, hopefully, at least some of the damage will be reversed.

I read, recently, that in the Political Party Manifestos for the U.K. General Election in May 2010 that the word “science” was mentioned twenty-four times and “engineering” only four times and that was in relation to STEM, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programme. That, probably, most likely, fits with the general misapprehensions about engineering, what it is and what it does.

In recent decades engineering has, at long last, started to reassert itself to some degree, particularly in terms of developments in the philosophy of engineering, in confirming that it is not just applied science. In fact, quite apart from engineering being an a art rather than a science, much of what engineers do is deeply unscientific, at least in terms of the type of science that most of science’s most vociferous proponents expound these days.

Source “Professional Engineering”